THE parents of a seven-year-old girl who was sexually abused by a family friend have said their lives had been ‘shattered’ by his actions.

Nathan Dunne, 28, was jailed for four years at Chester Crown Court after he admitted touching her sexually before forcing her to touch his penis.

The court heard how Dunne, of Powell Drive in Middlewich, had turned up drunk at a gathering at a house in Winsford in May last year.

After his partner left, he entered the girl’s room and went to sleep on the floor. A short time later he climbed into her bed, where he took off her pyjamas, blocked her from leaving the room, and touched her sexually four times.

Despite her telling him to stop and that she was in pain, he continued and eventually took off his own shorts and twice placed her hand on his penis.

She called out for her parents but they could not hear. Before returning to sleep on the floor, he told her to keep what had happened a secret.

After Dunne had left the house the following morning, the girl became tearful as she told her mum that he had made her ‘touch his willy’. A report was made to the police.

In a victim impact statement read out in court during the sentencing hearing on Monday, the girl’s father told of the effect the incident had had on his family.

He said: “Since the incident, we have become very protective and won’t let her out of our sight. We second-guess every decision we make and punish ourselves for previous decisions.

“We feel that everyone is a threat and we need to keep her very close. We will struggle to come to terms with the fact that this has happened to our daughter for the rest of our lives.

“Our world has been completely shattered. It’s a horrific memory that will never leave us.

“No child should have to go through what she has had to suffer.”

Dunne had initially said he couldn’t remember the events and denied the charges, although traces of his DNA were found in the girl’s underwear. He pleaded guilty two months before a scheduled trial was due to start.

Sentencing him to two concurrent four-year sentences, His Honour Judge Simon Berkson said: “What you did on that night was commit terrible crimes towards the girl.

“These offences were committed when drunk in the bed of the girl, in her room, in her home where she should have been – and felt – safe.

“You continued to abuse her when she told you to stop and was shouting for her parents.

“This offending was out of character but very serious. It is unavoidable but to sentence you to immediate imprisonment.”

Dunne was also made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.